Holland Casino CEO stays on

By William Brown Updated
Dutch online betting legalisation to receive dozens of applications 

The state-run Holland Casino in the Netherlands will maintain its course for at least four years, with the venue chief executive officer, Erwin van Lambaart retained.

Calvin Ayre reports that van Lambaart has been running the venue for the past three years and his contract is set to expire in 2020.

Regulators like the job he’s doing and after receiving positive feedback about his performance from the supervisory board of the casino, have decided that he needs to keep running the show.

The final decision on whether or not to keep van Lambaart or let him return to the entertainment industry from which he came, lay with Dutch Ministry of Finance.

After the supervisory board gave the executive rave reviews about his performance, the board’s chairman Willem Brocker also highlighted his ability to weather the storm and keep the casino on course.

Brocker said of the CEO: “With the reappointment of Erwin van Lambaart, we ensure the continuity of Holland Casino’s successful strategy.

“In recent years, he has steered the company through turbulent times in a powerful manner and has ensured stability within the company. In addition, he has successfully managed to unite his team’s interests and the social role of Holland Casino through the ‘HC2020’ strategy, which has been implemented decisively.

“His knowledge and insights will be of great importance for the company in the coming period.”

Online gambling regulation still a way off

The Netherlands had some ups and downs in its gambling world in 2019.

Discussion had been in place for several years to privatise Holland Casino, and this appeared close to happening earlier this year.

The country’s Justice Minister Sander Dekker backed down on the privatisation bill, which he had submitted, explaining that other gambling issues needed to take precedence over the privatisation.

One of those issues was online gambling, which was approved in February.

It was now time for the government and regulators to move forward and develop necessary legislative frameworks for the activity, and releasing Holland Casino no longer was as important.

That is apparently turning out to be a much bigger job than anyone anticipated, since it was announced in the middle of last month that online gambling will have to wait another six months.

Erwin van Lambaart probably isn’t disappointed with the delay.

Holland Casino has a lot of plans in the works and his reappointment will allow continuity in their progress.

He added after he was approved to stay at the helm.

“I look forward to continuing this great assignment as chairman of the board to make Holland Casino more future-proof and to face the tough challenges ahead.

“Our successful strategy will be continued in the coming years, including the launch of the online gambling market, the opening of new locations in Venlo and Utrecht, and various product innovations and improvements for our customers,” he said.

Netherlands clarifies online gambling rules

The Netherlands’ gambling regulator has finally offered some specifics on the ‘time outs’ it plans to impose on operators who served the local market without its permission.

Calvin Ayre reported in July that when the Dutch legislature passed its Remote Gambling Bill in February, it stipulated that operators who continued to ‘actively’ serve Dutch customers without the regulatory body’s approval would have to serve a two year ‘cooling off’ period before becoming eligible for a new Dutch gambling licence.

Last Friday, the KSA released a draft policy rule regarding this cooling off period, which reveals that the two-year period will be backdated from the point that the KSA receives a company’s online licence application.

So if an operator files its application on July 1, 2020 – the expected start of the licencing window – said operator must not have been actively targeting the Dutch market any later than July 1, 2018.

The KSA defines ‘actively’ by a number of criteria, including whether a website used a .nl domain, offered Dutch language services, released ads targeting Dutch customers, used branding or imagery associated with the Netherlands or allowed customers to transact with Dutch payment processors such as iDeal.

The KSA cautioned that this policy will expire on July 1, 2021.

So if an operator was still targeting the Dutch market after July 1, 2019, they will be permanently excluded from applying for a Dutch online licence.

Operators who have catered to Dutch punters in the past have been busy cleaning up their act in preparation for the new online licence derby.

Nordic operators Betsson AB, which has been on the receiving end of the KSA’s disciplinary division, recently rebranded its two Dutch-facing sites in an apparent bit of reputation management.

The KSA also cautioned that operators will also be subject to a broader reliability probe, the full details of which are still being finalised.

That will include a Bibob (probity) screening, as required under Dutch law for any company applying for a licence or bidding on a government contract.

Assuming the licencing window opens as planned in mid-2020, the newly regulated online market is expected to launch on January 1, 2021.

The KSA recently revealed that it had received 183 expressions of interest from online hopefuls, of which 89 were non-Dutch companies.

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